Regardless of political position, we should never condone victim blaming.
One of the hardest things for human beings to do is to place themselves in another person’s shoes and attempt to see things from a different perspective. We all have unique experiences. These continue to shape our opinions. Often, and for a variety of reasons, our worldview will clash with someone else’s.
This is expected.
Not long after Nikolas Cruz’s rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, student activists began making the rounds.
These teenagers appeared on news channels, roundtable discussions, talk shows, and even that abysmal CNN townhall where anyone pro-2A faced an onslaught of hate. Some even inferred that Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, by way of their support for the Second Amendment, pulled the trigger that day.
This misplaced hysteria, while inexcusable, may have been overlooked by many witnessing the events coming out of Florida. Naturally, friends and family directly connected to the terror that occurred on that Wednesday afternoon were left reeling from the loss of innocence, and worse, the loss of life. They should have been given space to properly grieve.
We expected incorrect and misapplied outbursts from teenagers being used as pawns to advance a narrative. After all, it’s always better to use a youngster as the face of a movement. You’ll have created an emotional connection that spurs a passionate adherence to whatever message is being preached.
Since then, Parkland students like Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky, and especially David Hogg have become well-known within the gun control reform movement. They are lauded as leaders. Seen as world-changers. Being treated as movers and shakers for justice and life and responsibility.
Talk about extreme.
It’s true that they are the faces of the movement. But what kind of movement is that? What exactly is Parkland student activism accomplishing?
Not much at all.
Sure, these kids have left a social media footprint. They have fans. Heck, they’re even pseudo-celebrities now. But they are way out of their league. They should not be attempting policy discussion, as Carl Arbogast correctly argues in Dear Mainstream Media: Stop Allowing David Hogg to Say Whatever He Wants Without Challenge.
Without a truthful exchange of ideas, where facts are presented and incorrect language is corrected, what are we doing? Nothing.
This past week, students all over the country engaged in a walkout to protest gun violence. Some were applauded for walking out. (Some actually received detention for doing so, because education is more important.) What did the walkout do other than shave off some time from classroom work and provide news outlets with video clips to share in primetime?
It did nothing.
I am not anti-protest or anti-march, so long as they’re done peacefully. That is your right as an America. But please, don’t have the audacity to suggest that these outward displays of frustration have made any concrete difference for good.
A perfect example of all of this non-change is the following tweet from student activist David Hogg, as well as the accompanying response.
Just got rejected from another college but that’s ok we’re already changing the world. Goodnight everyone
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) March 17, 2018
Wait… how are any of you kids getting rejected from any colleges?!? You all should be going to Harvard, Princeton, Yale, etc on full rides for the impact you’ve made in the world. This is RIDICULOUS!!!
— Tina-bo-bina ? (@TinaNoelleB) March 17, 2018
I’m actually mad. You + your other peers have become THE FACE of the gun control movement. Millions of kids around the country protested this week because of what YOU GUYS started. You have accomplished more in this month than 99.9% of people do in a lifetime. You deserve better.
— Tina-bo-bina ? (@TinaNoelleB) March 17, 2018
Sigh. You’ve got to be kidding me.
Unfortunately, Tina (bo-bina) and David are being serious. Tina is shocked that her boy David is rejected by any school because showing up in her news feed and seeing him on MSNBC means he has changed the world. At the same time, David can’t fathom why colleges (those expensive places that focus on academics and substantive educational achievements/test scores) might pass on accepting him as a student.
After all, he has had countless media appearances and is a verified account on Twitter. Forget his transcripts, SAT and/or ACT. Being popular is what really matters.
More than anything, I feel sad for these kids. Yes, they often frustrate me with their false claims and viciousness toward those who dare to support my right – and your right – to bear arms. But even these annoyances show just how deluded their thinking has become. They are doing nothing but attempting to supplant a long-standing freedom that shall not be infringed and calling it progress.
Changing the world for good? Hardly.
The activism that we see from these teenagers is really one huge media experiment meant to make people, who have zero interest in fruitful, reasonable discussion, feel great about what they see and “like” it on their Facebook pages. That’s about it.
I don’t know when the real world will smack these kids (and their fanboys/fangirls) in the face, but it will happen eventually. When it does, they’ll be left with an empty experience that lacked a real depth of any kind.
Sooner or later, the interest in Parkland activism and all it entails will fade from the screen. For now, there is much more futility to come.
Follow Kimberly Ross on Twitter: @southernkeeks.